Next week, in the US and many other countries, Valentine's Day will be celebrated. Stores are already decorated in pink and red, while hearts and teddy bears are being purchased by the dozens. Jewelry is on sale, and there are specials on roses and chocolate. Valentine's Day is a time in which love, or at least romantic love, is celebrated. Yet, the ones who benefit the most from Valentine's Day are the retailers and greeting card companies.
I AM A ROMANTIC TOO…
In some ways, I am an incurable romantic. I don’t care for realism in movies; I just want everyone to live happily ever after. I want the good guys to be noble and honorable, and the bad guys to see the error of their ways, becoming good guys themselves. I am easily moved to tears, especially over sweet things. I am grateful God made us to experience romantic love, and I enjoy the realities of romantic love in a God-ordained relationship. On the other hand, the huge emphasis of romantic love on Valentine’s Day always makes me think of how incomplete this form of love really is.
…BUT THERE IS A SMALL PROBLEM
The issue is that romantic love is grounded primarily in feelings and emotions, yet the fullness of love goes so much deeper. True love is undeterred by the absence of outward beauty, and does not seek to simply feel good. The fullness of love does not seek to receive, but delights in giving something desired or needed. True love is not dependent on love being reciprocated. Instead, it is selfless and sacrificial. The fullness of love is not so much a feeling (though feelings do accompany such love), as it is a way in which life is lived toward one another. Concerning the fullness of love, it is said,
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
We are told this love is of God. This is how He loves us, and how He calls us to love others. This kind of love is not normal or natural. In fact, it is supernatural. Romance is sweet and fun, but this fullness of love is what we long for and were created for. It is much better than romance alone. This love provides a context for romantic love to be given in its fullest expression, and to be experienced in the most complete way. True love originates in God and will ultimately glorify God. It is far better than roses, or chocolate, or even the best jewelry. So, when Valentine's Day comes, give the card, send flowers, and share candy, but don’t forget to give TRUE LOVE.